WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the author of S. 905, the Syria War Crimes Accountability Act, released the following statement prior to the Senate reconvening for the first time after the recent U.S. bombing of Syrian government chemical weapons facilities by the U.S. and international partners in response to Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against innocent people:
“Now that the bombs have fallen, the Trump Administration must pick up the mantle of leading a diplomatic, political solution to end the crisis in Syria that includes holding Bashar al-Assad accountable for his heinous war crimes. A comprehensive strategy must be articulated to Congress and all Americans without delay. The president should work urgently with the international community to develop a political solution to the war and ensure humanitarian access to Syrians in need. The White House should also call for passage of my and Senator Rubio’s legislation to facilitate a possible international war crimes tribunal and offer other technical assistance to try Assad as a war criminal. Finally, the President should also use the sanctions authority given to him by Congress to hold Assad’s backers accountable for their unconscionable support of a brutal dictator, namely, Russia and Iran.
“The Senate should continue negotiating legislation on authorizing the use of military force, our Constitutional responsibility, and pass it as soon as possible. The 2001 AUMF is outdated for the pursuit of ISIS and other terrorist organizations, and both the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs do not at all apply to U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war.”